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[IowaAPA] Zoning Compliance Letters?

G

George Wesselhoft

Guest
All,



If asked for a letter of zoning compliance, how do your respective
governments respond? Do you issue a general letter stating what the
property is zoned and listing the permitted uses for said district or do you
also include more specific information such as not having any known
violations and being in compliance with the zoning ordinance, including any
required zoning permits or certificate of occupancy?



George Wesselhoft, AICP, LEED GA

Planning and Zoning Director

City of Pella

100 Truman Road

Pella, Iowa 50219

(641) 628-1601

<mailto:gwesselhoft (AT) cityofpella (DOT) com> gwesselhoft (AT) cityofpella (DOT) com
 
J

Jeff D Benson

Guest
For the more complicated, second type of letter you refer to, the City of
Ames has a short application on our website so we can get the information
we need to do the research and we also provide there a list of what we
will check and what we won't check. We call it a "Zoning Confirmation
Letter." We never state that the current use of the site or improvements
comply with zoning. But if the person does want what we can do, then they
send the form and we bill them $100 with the letter. It takes anywhere
from one to five days, depending on work load.

If they want to know what uses are allowed on a property, and they can't
just go to the on-line ordinance, we send them the list from the Code for
free.


THANKS!

Jeff

Jeffrey D. Benson, AICP, ASLA
Planner, Department of Planning and Housing
City of Ames, Iowa

515 Clark
P.O. Box 811
Ames, IA 50010

Ph: 515-239-5269
Fax: 515-239-5404

e-mail: jbenson (AT) city (DOT) ames.ia.us

Caring People ~ Quality Programs ~ Exceptional Service





"George Wesselhoft" <gwesselhoft (AT) cityofpella (DOT) com>
Sent by: IowaAPA (AT) yahoogroups (DOT) com
02/24/2011 06:36 AM
Please respond to
IowaAPA (AT) yahoogroups (DOT) com


To
<IowaAPA (AT) yahoogroups (DOT) com>
cc

Subject
[IowaAPA] Zoning Compliance Letters?







All,

If asked for a letter of zoning compliance, how do your respective
governments respond? Do you issue a general letter stating what the
property is zoned and listing the permitted uses for said district or do
you also include more specific information such as not having any known
violations and being in compliance with the zoning ordinance, including
any required zoning permits or certificate of occupancy?

George Wesselhoft, AICP, LEED GA
Planning and Zoning Director
City of Pella
100 Truman Road
Pella, Iowa 50219
(641) 628-1601
gwesselhoft (AT) cityofpella (DOT) com
 
P

Paul Dekker

Guest
Urbandale will provide a "full boat" compliance letter, BUT there're
still limits as to what we'll certify, have to be sure you don't go
beyond what you know to be absolutely correct and to include a
qualifier, at least qualify "to the best of our knowledge and available
City records", or some such.



If you DON'T know and have no reasonable way to determine, DON'T certify
no matter how badly they want it.



Some ask you to certify for everything, about ask for assurance that the
property will never get hit by a tornado, guess you can't blame them for
trying, but.



It's important to check with City legal counsel however, to see what
they're comfortable with. Some might prefer NOT to do at all, and some
planners might, but I view it as a service we need to provide, within
reason, not really possible for anyone else to do it.



At the same time, we don't do it for free. We charge $40 for a
single-family residence, $75 for townhomes or other "single family
attached", and for multi-family and any nonresidential we charge a
minimum of $150 plus an additional $50/hour if the time expended to
research, inspect et.al exceeds 2 hours. Some of those can be VERY
difficult and time-consuming, as I'm sure you know....



We get lots of requests from consultants who are charging for the
service, so certainly is no reason to provide the information for free
to them. For most other situations there is a lender or attorney
involved and they're all charging hefty fees, so again no reason to
provide for free.



If someone ONLY wants a copy of a Certificate of Occupancy, there's no
charge for that.



By the way, be sure to archive every certification letter you provide
because the chances are good that they'll need another in a few years,
the next time they refinance or whatever. Important to know what you
said previously, also makes the next one WAY simpler to do since you
only have to check the time period between.



Paul Dekker



Director of Community Development

3600 86th Street

City of Urbandale, IA 50322-4057



515-331-6721

515-278-3927 (Fax)

PDekker (AT) Urbandale (DOT) org

http://www.urbandale.org/



________________________________

From: IowaAPA (AT) yahoogroups (DOT) com [mailto:IowaAPA (AT) yahoogroups (DOT) com] On Behalf
Of George Wesselhoft
Sent: Thursday, February 24, 2011 6:37 AM
To: IowaAPA (AT) yahoogroups (DOT) com
Subject: [IowaAPA] Zoning Compliance Letters?





All,



If asked for a letter of zoning compliance, how do your respective
governments respond? Do you issue a general letter stating what the
property is zoned and listing the permitted uses for said district or do
you also include more specific information such as not having any known
violations and being in compliance with the zoning ordinance, including
any required zoning permits or certificate of occupancy?



George Wesselhoft, AICP, LEED GA

Planning and Zoning Director

City of Pella

100 Truman Road

Pella, Iowa 50219

(641) 628-1601

gwesselhoft (AT) cityofpella (DOT) com
 
A

a hauer

Guest
Paul,

There was at least $1,000 of advise in this response!  I really like the 'keep
the correspondence' proviso; bet there's some history there....

Andrea Hauer

________________________________
From: Paul Dekker <PDekker (AT) urbandale (DOT) org>
To: IowaAPA (AT) yahoogroups (DOT) com
Sent: Fri, February 25, 2011 10:08:28 AM
Subject: RE: [IowaAPA] Zoning Compliance Letters?

 
Urbandale will provide a “full boat” compliance letter, BUT there’re still
limits as to what we’ll certify, have to be sure you don’t go beyond what you
know to be absolutely correct and to include a qualifier, at least qualify “to
the best of our knowledge and available City records”, or some such.. 

 
If you DON’T know and have no reasonable way to determine, DON’T certify no
matter how badly they want it.
 
Some ask you to certify for everything, about ask for assurance that the
property will never get hit by a tornado, guess you can’t blame them for trying,
but.
 
It’s important to check with City legal counsel however, to see what they’re
comfortable with.  Some might prefer NOT to do at all, and some planners might,
but I view it as a service we need to provide, within reason, not really
possible for anyone else to do it.
 
At the same time, we don’t do it for free.  We charge $40 for a single-family
residence, $75 for townhomes or other “single family attached”, and for
multi-family and any nonresidential we charge a minimum of $150 plus an
additional $50/hour if the time expended to research, inspect et.al exceeds 2
hours.  Some of those can be VERY difficult and time-consuming, as I’m sure you
know….
 
We get lots of requests from consultants who are charging for the service, so
certainly is no reason to provide the information for free to them.  For most
other situations there is a lender or attorney involved and they’re all charging
hefty fees, so again no reason to provide for free.
 
If someone ONLY wants a copy of a Certificate of Occupancy, there’s no charge
for that.
 
By the way, be sure to archive every certification letter you provide because
the chances are good that they’ll need another in a few years, the next time
they refinance or whatever.  Important to know what you said previously, also
makes the next one WAY simpler to do since you only have to check the time
period between.
 
Paul Dekker
 
Director of Community Development
3600 86th Street
City of Urbandale, IA 50322-4057
 
515-331-6721
515-278-3927 (Fax)
PDekker (AT) Urbandale (DOT) org
http://www.urbandale.org/
 

________________________________

From:IowaAPA (AT) yahoogroups (DOT) com [mailto: IowaAPA (AT) yahoogroups (DOT) com ] On Behalf Of
George Wesselhoft
Sent: Thursday, February 24, 2011 6:37 AM
To: IowaAPA (AT) yahoogroups (DOT) com
Subject: [IowaAPA] Zoning Compliance Letters?
 
 
All,
 
If asked for a letter of zoning compliance, how do your respective governments
respond?  Do you issue a general letter stating what the property is zoned and
listing the permitted uses for said district or do you also include more
specific information such as not having any known violations and being in
compliance with the zoning ordinance, including any required zoning permits or
certificate of occupancy?
 
George Wesselhoft, AICP, LEED GA
Planning and Zoning Director
City of Pella
100 Truman Road
Pella, Iowa 50219
(641) 628-1601
gwesselhoft (AT) cityofpella (DOT) com
 
 
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